b. John David Goulder, 29 June 1939, Nottingham, England. Gouder was initially influenced by the steam songs from the American railroad tradition, and writers such as Ewan MacColl and Ralph Vaughan Williams. After a variety of jobs, Goulder started working for the railways in 1954, and a year or so later formed a group with workmates playing and singing in working men’s clubs in the north of England. He left the railway in 1961 and moved to Scotland to live and spent the next 10 years running hostels for mountaineers, while occasionally playing folk clubs to supplement his income. Still writing songs, Goulder turned to dry stone walling for a living where he achieved a master craftsman certificate. His surroundings provided inspiration for songs and poems, an interest in nature started by his father, who had been a travelling farm worker for the War Agricultural Department. It was not until Goulder’s first tour of the USA, with Gordon Bok, that he began writing seriously again, producing The Man Who Put The Engine In The Chip Shop, and a retrospective book of songs, January Man. ‘January Man’ is probably Goulder’s most famous song, having been covered by countless performers. His lifelong passion for anything concerning railways continues, even to the extent of including the actual sounds of locomotives and engines on The Man Who Put The Engine In The Chip Shop.
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